Kansas defeats Kentucky, 65-61

  • 8:30 p.m., Nov. 14, 2017
  • United Center, Chicago, IL

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Clutch plays key Kansas victory over Kentucky at Champions Classic

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) raises his arms after the Jayhawks defeated the Wildcats 65-61 during the second half on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 at United Center.

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) raises his arms after the Jayhawks defeated the Wildcats 65-61 during the second half on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 at United Center.


CHICAGO — Just about everything visual about Tuesday's Champions Classic clash between No. 4 Kansas and No. 7 Kentucky at United Center showed that the Wildcats had won.

That is, unless you were looking at the scoreboard.

While John Calipari's latest crop of young Kentucky Wildcats made the bigger, brighter and louder plays throughout the game's first 30 minutes, it was the Kansas experience that closed and led the Jayhawks to a 65-61 victory.

Two key sequences perfectly summed up and symbolized the way the Jayhawks won this one, often fighting sloppy play, sluggish body language and bad breaks along the way.

The first came when Lagerald Vick held his own in the post defensively, snagged a rebound and fired a pass that Tom Brady would've been proud of to a streaking Svi Mykhailiuk behind the UK defense.

Mykhailiuk caught the pass in stride, took two smooth steps and flew high to the right side of the rim for a one-handed hammer dunk.

One possession later, again on defense, Udoka Azubuike used his massive frame to frustrate Kentucky big man Nick Richards just long enough for Devonte' Graham to dig down and strip the ball away. The turnover led to one of KU's better offensive possessions, which ended with Graham throwing a soft lob to Azubuike for a monster jam and a 51-45 Kansas lead.

And then there was arguably the biggest shot of the game. After Vick's driving jumper came up short, the junior used his length to grab his own miss and flipped it to Mykhailiuk, who quickly fired it back out to a wide open Newman.

From there, Newman, who shot just 4-of-14 for the night for 13 points, nine rebounds and two assists, gathered himself, squared his body and drilled a 3-pointer that put KU up 61-57 with 2:10 to play. Newman said after the game that he didn't even consider holding the ball, even though 25 seconds showed on the shot clock when he pulled the trigger.

“When we're open like that, coach always tells us let it fly and I was open,” he said. “Why not shoot it? Put the icing on the cake.”

Kentucky called timeout as soon as the shot fell through and Graham raced over to his backcourt mate, yelling and high-fiving him.

“A win is a win,” Graham said. “So you're excited about any win, but beating Kentucky is definitely more for the fans and there's a little bit more excitement to it and bragging rights, of course.”

Graham might not have had a shot as dramatic as Frank Mason III's to beat Duke in Madison Square Garden last season. But his free throws down the stretch were huge. The senior finished with 11 points on 3-of-14 shooting, three rebounds and five assists in 39 minutes. He knocked in four of five free throw attempts, with three of the four coming in the final three minutes.

“It's not all about scoring for him,” said Newman, who admitted that he and his teammates were eager to get back in the gym after shooting just 35 percent for the game. “He did a lot of other things great tonight and he did his job of leading the team.”

Newman had a knack for being in the right spot at the right time toward the end.

After a driving floater by Kevin Knox that would have tied it clanged off the rim, Mykhailiuk tapped the rebound to Newman, who corralled it and hit two free throws to put Kansas up four, 63-59, with 17 seconds to play.

The Jayhawks opened the game with the swagger of a champion and an aggressive mindset.

Graham, Mykhailiuk, Newman and Vick all drove to the basket with purpose in the game's first three minutes. While they did not always score, they did put the ball through the basket enough to build a 13-7 lead at the first TV timeout.

Those buckets helped offset a slow start from the outside, where Kansas missed four of its first five 3-point shots until Mykhailiuk cashed one from the corner after Graham skipped a one-handed pass to him during a loose-ball scramble near mid-court.

A quick surge that started with Graham finishing a tough layup in transition, included a big block by Azubuike and a pull-up 3-pointer from Newman, and helped Kansas build an early 11-point lead. But not long after a UK timeout, the young Wildcats showed the ability to respond to adversity with a 6-0 run that tightened things back up.

A big factor in the run was the Kentucky length, which stole passes out of mid-air and forced tough angles on others, frustrating the Kansas offense and leading to transition points for the Wildcats.

Kansas turned it over eight times in the first half but just three times in the second half for 11 in the game. Kentucky (2-1) turned it over 18 times.

“If you're comparing the two games, the first one (Duke-Michigan State) was much more artistic but it was a great, grind-it-out win,” Self said. “To basically play six guys and pull it off when we were totally gassed, I'm really proud of my team.”

The Jayhawks will return to Allen Fieldhouse at 7 p.m. Friday for Game No. 3 vs. South Dakota State.

By the Numbers: Kansas 65, Kentucky 61

By the Numbers: Kansas 65, Kentucky 61

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Kentucky


Tracey Graham 3 years, 5 months ago

I'm happy KU won, but boy that was an ugly game. Even for an early season contest

Tony Bandle 3 years, 5 months ago

Post Game Takeaways:

1] Garret is a heck of a lot better player at this stage than I ever had a right to wish for.

2] Someone make Azu shoot 500 foul shots a day, [Then add another 500 at night].

3] Kentucky is very talented but Duke is really good......FBomb, FBomb, FBomb!!!

4] Is Preston going to be more trouble than he is worth????

5] NCAA, please, please, please allow DeSousa to come to KU early.

6] Newman looks like he is going to be a real gem for us.

7] Maybe it was just wishful thinking but I thought Svi actually played defense tonight.

8] We get DeSousa and Preston shapes up, I think we become a truly scary team!

9] Dickie V looks so old, he could sub for Dorian Gray's portrait!!

10] It looks like MS Hudy put on a few pounds. [For God's sake, don't tell her I said that!!!!]

Bryce Landon 3 years, 5 months ago

Regarding [9], Dickie V's age is starting to show.

And regarding [10], I hope Andrea Hudy has done a good job preparing the Jayhawks with conditioning because they are going to need it this season!

Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 5 months ago

Great win! UK team has length - - gotta keep Dok in mind when driving... Too many unforced TOs. UK's freshmen are as good as advertised, our freshmen? Garett looks alright. Billy? Looks like he's ready to skip college ball (on the bench). Our 3s are miserable, too many bad 3s. Not as good as I thought.

I'd like to see we use Dok more inside. Our guards need to penetrate but not to fall in love driving to the basket all the time. Use Dok! Use Dok! Let him finish it! Let him break the glass!!! It's so frustrating to see him under the basket alone, his defender double team our guards, and the ball got blocked instead of a dish to Dok!!!

Jonathan Allison 3 years, 5 months ago

Dok played 34 minutes and only got 5 FGAs (all 5 dunks). I am sure that they will get him more shots starting Friday... Bill Self will make certain of it.

Jim Stauffer 3 years, 5 months ago

I see a different Newman than I anticipated. I thought he was more athletic. Instead his strength is just being a guy who plays a solid game. Was disappointed he could not elevate sufficiently to get his shots off at the rim.

Joe Black 3 years, 5 months ago

Part of his problem about finishing at the rim was that he kept driving to the rim Kentucky would get help defense (sometimes with two additional defenders) and he would still try to go 1 on 2 or 3 instead of dishing the ball to an open teammate. He seemed way to selfish to me. He did come up big at the end of the game but man does he need to learn to see the whole court better.

Jonathan Allison 3 years, 5 months ago

Hopefully he corrects his issue finishing in traffic (part of that will be not forcing as many 1 on 3 drives). It's not about al lack of athleticism. There is a full set of skills that allows guards to finish effectively in traffic. Frank Mason had all of the tools. Malik Newman will do himself a favor by practicing some of Frank's strategies.

Key #1, body control... Malik was driving out of control. Key #2, initiate contact. Key #3, having multiple release points and angles. Key #4, strategic release timing must get shot off when defense is not expecting it.

Frank was amazing... he had every shot... floaters, fadeaways, finger rolls, but what he did better than anyone else who's played at KU was playing under control, initiating the body contact to draw the foul and create just enough space to allow him to finish over much larger bodies.

Barry Weiss 3 years, 5 months ago

dok was a beast. I would give him more props. Sure he was a bit winded and sure he was not good at the line, but Kentucky, a long and lean team, could NOT defend him. I do not know how many shots he blocked, but he is a true rim protector that we have not had in recent years. His presence caused many Kentucky players trying to penetrate into the paint to have to alter their shots. I was very impressed with him considering the limited time he got in last year due to his injury.

Craig Alexander 3 years, 5 months ago

That was a quiet 17 points for Svi. I know they will get better but Devonte was definitely rushing and relying on the jump shot when during the end of the game we need him to drive and get contact. That will be something we greatly miss from Frank this year.

Jonathan Allison 3 years, 5 months ago

7 for 18 shooting from Svi. He turned down some open looks that he should have shot, and he forced some guarded shots that he probably should have passed.

The next month, I think that Graham will become a prolific distributor and learn to trust his teammates. This game was hectic and ugly too many forced shots by Graham, Svi, and Malik. I expect better passing and more open looks to be the norm starting Friday. They will develop much better chemistry and learn to trust eachother. One thing they did well last year was move the ball, share the ball, but also feed the hot hand. I expect more of that this year with Graham running the show.

Tony Bandle 3 years, 5 months ago

Takeaway List [cont.]:

11] Dok played 35 minutes and did NOT foul out!! What odds could you have gotten given this was only the second game of the season.

12] Grayson Allen has made my All-Time Obnoxious Opponent Team although Jason Sutherland of Misery still remains captain of that squad!

13] Maybe we could feed the post a little more often especially if our guy is a few inches taller and is twice as big as his man!!

14] Should be number #3 by Monday with the next four games "slam dunks",

15] Maybe we can call the NCAA and offer to trade Billy for Silvio?

Creg Bohrer 3 years, 5 months ago

Not sure about 14 Michigan State played number 1 Duke close and we really didn't look that good.

Dave Miller 3 years, 5 months ago

RE: no.12: I'd add Doug Gottlieb as a co-captain to that team for the simple fact that by college he still couldn't dress himself... ;) lol

John Strayer 3 years, 5 months ago

Vick's one handed outlet pass to Svi, looked a hell of a lot better than anything a KU QB has through this year.

Layne Pierce 3 years, 5 months ago

Let's don't underestimate Kentucky defense was making it hard to run regular offense. They were tough in the passing lanes, and their size made it hard to find wide open shots inside the key.

To me the most important thing about this game was that each player did something and they did not give in. It would have been easy to just let this one slip away, when we aren't shooting for crap. The bad news Svi took 17 shots, the good news Svi took 17 shots. Too often in the past, Svi misses two or three, and he just quits. He needs to shoot 10 to 15 times a game. But he also needs to rebound, feed the post, and play defense. Newman was Mr. ballhog, he could have had 10 assists, instead of forcing the ball into 2 or 3 taller players. Not gonna work that way. But good news he had 9 rebounds, and made clutch shot. Devonte terrible game, but he never quit, and he played hard, and he kept the team focused. Azu filled up the middle, and kept Kentucky from just driving to the basket. Vick, tough defense, and tough rebounds, a great pass to Svi, and the super offensive rebound that might have been the play of the game. Garrett tough defense. Lightfoot giving Azu just enough rest.

For an early game against a real tough opponent, we saw what we an be, and we saw that we can win even when the shots are falling. In a scary way this game reminded me of Oregon last year, but Devonte still comes up with 11, and two key free throws.

Being short handed could actually speed up the development of the team.

Rock chalk

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